By Tatiana Kiryushchenko
The 16th century book is part of the Pogodin Collection, held by the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg. However, it has been copied by the Belarusian Exarchate Publishing House, at the request of scientists from the National Academy of Sciences.
The Life of Yevfrosiniya Polotskaya is an outstanding monument to the ancient Eastern Slavonic written language, believed to have been written in the late 12th century in Polotsk. Over 180 Belarusian manuscripts from the 16th-18th century are kept abroad (in Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine), making work with these ancient books difficult.
“The electronic copy of the manuscript gives the opportunity for further study, by scientists and by anyone interested in our past and in our written legacy. It is a gift to all Orthodox believers in Belarus and a gift to Polotsk in particular, from where Yevfrosiniya Polotskaya — our duchess and mother superior — hailed,” notes Elvira Yermolenko, a senior research officer at the Yakub Kolas and Yanka Kupala Language and Literature Institute’s History Department of the National Academy of Sciences.
The copy will allow all those wishing to familiarise themselves with the Life to do so. In future, this material can be used in creating an archive of Old Church Slavonic manuscripts, which were widely spread on the territory of ancient Belarus.
Work has already begun, with the text of the 16th century Slutsk Gospel restored and its language studied.